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Freshman Studies Resource Guide

Where to Start

Image of Start position from a board gameThe Library has numerous electronic databases that provide full-text access to articles in magazines, newspapers, trade publications and scholarly journals. Where to start will depend on the research you are doing and the type of information you need to find.

If you know the name of the specific database, use the A-Z Listing.

To search for information on a broad topic:

Go to the DATABASES BY SUBJECT button on the homepage, then select the subject of your choice. You may find your topic falls under more than one potential category (e.g. Philosophy or Religion).

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Use a Multi-Disciplinary database, if you don't see your specific subject listed in Databases by Subject


To search for news, newspapers or current events:


If you know the TITLE of a specific magazine, newspaper or journal:

  • You can search for Print & Electronic Journals by Title or Subject. Note: this will restrict your searching to within one title only and is not recommended as a general search strategy.

Searching for broad topics (i.e., a paper on "sociology") will overwhelm you with non-specific sociology articles from any given database. In order to determine a more specific subject within Sociology (and therefore, appropriate keywords), consider the following strategies:

  • Check your notes: Did your professor either mention or provide a list of pre-approved topics?
  • Browse through a general reference or subject-specific encyclopedia on Sociology to get a better idea of the various topics
  • Write about something you either know about or have an interest in
  • Ask a Librarian!

Video: How to Use a Database

(From: Lane Wilkinson, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)

Nevermind: I'll search all databases at once

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